Italy celebrates 75th Festa della Repubblica with public holiday

Rome: Italy celebrated Festa della Repubblica, Italy’s Republic Day, with a national public holiday on Wednesday, June 2.

This year marks the 75th edition of the annual event which commemorates the day in 1946 when Italians voted in favour of a republic and against the monarchy which had been discredited during world war two.

The national event will see President Sergio Mattarella lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at the Vittoriano monument in Piazza Venezia at 10.00 on the morning of 2 June.

Last year Mattarella made a private visit to Codogno, in the northern Lodi province of Lombardy, where Italy’s first covid-19 patient was diagnosed.

One of the most popular events associated with Festa della Repubblica in Rome is the Frecce Tricolori, a spectacular aeronautical display involving fighter jets flying in formation over the city centre, emitting red, white and green plumes, representing of the colours of the Italian flag.

Due to covid-19 the normally lavish celebrations in the capital will be reduced for the second year in a row, with the cancellation of the military parade, last held in 2019.

The parade is normally held along Via dei Fori Imperiali, against the backdrop of the Colosseum, and usually comprises thousands of members of Italy’s army, navy and police forces.

Another popular event on the calendar will also be affected in 2021: the opening of the gardens at Palazzo Quirinale, seat of Italy’s president, is not expected to be open to the public this year.

Normally guests can enter the president’s gardens for several hours on the afternoon of 2 June, accompanied by music performed by military bands. This year a reduced version of the event will be limited to diplomats.

With the Festa della Repubblica falling on a Wednesday, some businesses and schools in Italy took a so-called ponte, or ‘bridge’, by taking Monday and Tuesday off to create a five-day weekend. The annual holiday saw all of Italy’s public offices and schools, and many shops, closed on June 2.